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  #51  
Old 03-28-2011, 11:21 PM
TexasDriver TexasDriver is offline
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I remember arguing with a realtor back in the early 1990's. We looked at our income and our outgo and reviewed our wants and needs. We decided upon what we figured we could afford. The realtor did her calculating and decided we could afford a much bigger mortgage. We kept saying no. I think she kept seeing her commission being smaller if we bought the smaller house. We ended up dumping her and finding another realtor. (No commission!) We bought the house we figured we could afford - and I promptly lost my job. Things turned out OK, but there was a lot of stress for a while. There would have been a lot more stress with a higher mortgage.
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  #52  
Old 03-28-2011, 11:35 PM
HazelNutCoffee HazelNutCoffee is offline
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We (boyfriend, cat, and I) live in about a 600 sq ft apartment, I think (I'm not sure of the exact measurements, maybe a little less than that) and we do feel ever-so-slightly cramped. If we had just one extra room, or a slightly larger kitchen, everything would be perfect. Oh, and a wee garden.

My parents' apartment is about 1100 sq ft, which is pretty standard in Korea for a family with 2 kids (a luxury apartment might be around 1700-1800 sq ft). Now that my brother and I no longer live with them, they've been talking about moving somewhere smaller, but with a garden (hard to find in the city; they'd have to move further away from Seoul).
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  #53  
Old 03-28-2011, 11:37 PM
monstro monstro is online now
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Originally Posted by lindsaybluth View Post
uh, monstro, you seem....angry, dude. And that's coming from a lady who has quite a bit of anger herself. You didn't ask to be born? C'mon now. We're sorry you're dealing with aging parents and an out of touch real estate agent but all of that doesn't equate with "everyone is overconsuming" and "why can't more people want a sub 1000 sq foot house?"
I'm not a dude. I'm a lady too.

I didn't say "everyone is overconsuming". People in this thread are being a little defensive, I think. If you can afford your living space, great for you. If you don't mind having empty rooms that you have to pay someone else to clean, that's also fine. I just don't understand it, that's all. And I don't know why that seems to be the model everyone is still operating under, even though the current economic crisis has shown us the horrible downside of "supersizing" our lifestyles.

I just wish the economy was more balanced. A single person or couple who wants the benefits of a detached house shouldn't have to risk having "too much house". But right now, there aren't too many options for them. And it seems to me (and this is just my "angry" opinion) that big houses are kinda forcing people to buy more stuff, just so that they don't seem so empty. That's just wrong.

My parents love TV. They have a TV in their room. A giant flatscreen TV in the living room. And a big TV upstairs in the "bonus" room upstairs. Whenever I step into the house on my first day of visiting during the holidays, without fail, all the TVs are on simultaneously, the blaring dissonance bouncing off the walls in a nauseauting way (I'm growing sensitive to unpleasant noises as I get older, I think). And get this: almost always no one is at home. So unused spaces are being filled not only stuff, but loud, energy-sucking stuff. Home sweet home.

It's not my business what people do with their belongings or their money. But ya know, when people start ranting about the price of oil or how high the cost the food is or how the big corporations are ruining the environment, I want to ask them just how many TVs they have and if they ever leave them on for the benefit of ghosts. The big corporations are getting away with murder, yeah, but most Americans are doing a good job at getting in their jabs too. I'm not too stupid to see how I'm also a part of the problem. But at least I'm trying to do better.

Last edited by monstro; 03-28-2011 at 11:38 PM..
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  #54  
Old 03-28-2011, 11:37 PM
TexasDriver TexasDriver is offline
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Originally Posted by SciFiSam View Post
See, that size to me seems fine for a one-bedroom place for two people, but gets cramped for two bedrooms. A bargain at 300,000 quid. (Check out the floorplan).
Yech! From the master bedroom to the bathroom you go through the kitchen , through the reception room (living room) and down the hall past the front door. I realize that they carved this space from a pre-existing building, but it is a horrible floor plan.
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  #55  
Old 03-28-2011, 11:44 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is online now
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Everyone isn't overconsuming, but a hell of a lot of us North Americans are. I don't think there's a lot of room for debate on that, is there?
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  #56  
Old 03-28-2011, 11:56 PM
Bambi Hassenpfeffer Bambi Hassenpfeffer is offline
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I currently live with two others in a 1,012-sq ft 3/2 with a 300-sq ft garage in addition. The way the house is set up, one bedroom and a bathroom can be closed off from the common areas on one side, and the other two and bathroom can be closed off on the other side. Before my brother moved home temporarily, I lived in the side with the two bedrooms and bath, using one as a living room and the other with the bath attached as my bedroom. That little suite is about 260 sq ft, and I felt it was just about perfect. Just add a small kitchen on, bringing it to about 320 sq ft, and I'd be in heaven.

I'm now living in the room I used to use as a living room with a bed in it, and while it's cramped I make it work. The rest of the house may as well not be there, because other than an occasional foray into the kitchen for food or the garage for laundry, I just don't use it. Everything I own fits well with room left over in my suite over here and that's how I like it.

My mother, OTOH, feels this house needs to be at least 3, preferably 4, times its current size. I think she's crazy.
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  #57  
Old 03-29-2011, 12:09 AM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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Originally Posted by Chefguy View Post
Our place is a refurbished 1904 Craftsman, with about 1300 sf of usable space. Since the basement is used for storage at the moment, we're living comfortably in about 700-800 s.f. Since we had the small deck built on off the kitchen, it's plenty of room. Our last place was a 2100 sf condo and it was more house than we could easily take care of when we were both working.
This reminds me of a question I have: When they give the square footage in a house listing, does that normally include the basement?
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  #58  
Old 03-29-2011, 12:30 AM
even sven even sven is online now
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I've lived in some mind-boggling small apartments. The strange thing is, even when my apartment is teeny-tiny, I still end up spending most of my time in a single room. I lived in an apartment that had two rooms the size of a queen bed and one the size of two and a half queen beds. The "big" room became home, and I swear spent no more than a few hours total in the other rooms.

I think it's all about layout. A small house can be very comfortable if all of the rooms have adequate storage, good traffic flow, enough light and heating/cooling to make it comfortable. But I've rarely lived in a small house where all the spaces were truly pleasant and useful places to be.

I think there are two kinds of people who are just never going to see the other's side- those who are happy to use public spaces (libraries, gyms, parks, etc.) and thus don't see the need to create these things in their houses, and those that prefer private spaces and want to create these things in their houses.
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  #59  
Old 03-29-2011, 01:38 AM
gaffa gaffa is online now
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The apartment I am in in Kansas City is 21' x 17' or 375 sq feet, and has space for a living room/office, full kitchen, bedroom and bath with roomy shower stall with a heated tile floor. I designed it and while it is hard to entertain more than two guests with one office chair and a loveseat, I've never needed to entertain more than one guest at a time.

I have a nice, roomy 3 bedroom apartment in Chicago, but the vast majority of the space goes utterly to waste.
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  #60  
Old 03-29-2011, 03:01 AM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
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Originally Posted by TexasDriver View Post
I remember arguing with a realtor back in the early 1990's. We looked at our income and our outgo and reviewed our wants and needs. We decided upon what we figured we could afford. The realtor did her calculating and decided we could afford a much bigger mortgage. We kept saying no. I think she kept seeing her commission being smaller if we bought the smaller house. We ended up dumping her and finding another realtor. (No commission!) We bought the house we figured we could afford - and I promptly lost my job. Things turned out OK, but there was a lot of stress for a while. There would have been a lot more stress with a higher mortgage.
Sort of like mrAru and I decided that we would spend a max of $100 000 on the residence. The real estate agent we picked had told us that we were pre-authorized for $250 000, but was perfectly fine with us setting the budget at 100K, and found us 6 or 7 properties to look at in that range that were perfectly fine. The original 250K was predicated on my job in addition to his navy career, but we opted to go with just what we could afford on navy pay, which was perfect because I had 3 jobs outsourced on me in the 15 years he was still navy after we bought the place. If we had gone for the 250K houses, we would have lost it at some point in time while I was out of work. There were times that adding in the car loan we came very close to having to decide food or car in a particular 3 year stretch of job hunting. People don't realize they need to add in insurance, property taxes, car insurance, taxes and registration on the car, clothing, job hunting expenses or work related expenses, food, entertainment ... one serious car problem [like a blown transmission] can totally fuck your finances for several months.
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  #61  
Old 03-29-2011, 03:03 AM
HazelNutCoffee HazelNutCoffee is offline
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Originally Posted by gaffa View Post
The apartment I am in in Kansas City is 21' x 17' or 375 sq feet, and has space for a living room/office, full kitchen, bedroom and bath with roomy shower stall with a heated tile floor. I designed it and while it is hard to entertain more than two guests with one office chair and a loveseat, I've never needed to entertain more than one guest at a time.
That's another thing I miss about my big Chicago apartment - being able to invite a bunch of people over and not worry about space. We've invited up to 4-5 people over at a time but it only works in the summer when we can go out on the balcony.
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  #62  
Old 03-29-2011, 03:55 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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The two studios I've lived in were thereabouts of 500 sq ft and 600 sq ft.

The largest one was a loft; the volume enclosed by the walls wouldn't have been much bigger than the other one. I liked the distribution in the smaller one better, it was just one room with a wall sticking out of its back, a walk-in closet to the left of the wall (leading to the bathroom) and the kitchen to its right.

Both of them were in the States: Miami and Philadelphia, respectively.


In Spain a 2B1b is usually 60m2 or about 645 sq ft. This isn't much larger than that second studio, but somehow the space tends to be more useful (partly because there isn't a stair taking up floor space, partly because there are more walls and therefore more wall space). Both the flat I own and the one I'm currently renting are this size and could easily fit 3 or 4 people (both were fitting a couple and their child, before me); they're overlarge for me but smaller places would be ridiculously expensive and not have space for visitors.



ETA: I forgot my Glasgow studio, which clocked in at about 400 sq ft. Huge room (Victorian building, it used to be what I think is called the "drawing room"), tiny bathroom, tiny kitchen.

Last edited by Nava; 03-29-2011 at 03:56 AM..
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  #63  
Old 03-29-2011, 04:03 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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Originally Posted by Maastricht View Post
This weekend, I had visitors; a guy who used to live in my current home when he was a kid. His family at the time were poor first generation immigrants. So this house, 1350 square feet, (3 bedroom, 1 bathroom) where today I live with my husband and toddler? Just thirty years ago, the same house had twelve people living in it. The floors were separated. Our upper floor had a separate entrance and housed one family with four sons. The bottom floor housed another family with four kids.

Puts my own whining about too little space in perpective, doesn't it?
My grandparents' flat is the "standard" 90m2: 968 sq ft. In the postwar years, the tiny bedroom to the right of the entrance (4.8m2 - 50 sq ft) was rented to a family with a baby and a toddler. My grandparents lived there (with their two daughters), so did his parents and his sister and her husband (my mother's cousin arrived a lot later). So, 12 people, I think I'm not forgetting anybody.

Those 968sq ft are considered appropriate for a family of 4-6 now.

Last edited by Nava; 03-29-2011 at 04:04 AM..
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  #64  
Old 03-29-2011, 06:18 AM
monstro monstro is online now
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Maybe I should immigate to Europe.
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  #65  
Old 03-29-2011, 06:48 AM
Unintentionally Blank Unintentionally Blank is offline
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Originally Posted by Cat Whisperer View Post
Everyone isn't overconsuming, but a hell of a lot of us North Americans are. I don't think there's a lot of room for debate on that, is there?
This gives me the opening I need: there is room for debate, but the subject matter is impossible to nail down.

Life. Is.

So much of it is so open for debate, or out of your control, or worry about shit that never happens that it's just best to take things as they come, do that whole persuit of happiness(whatever local reality that may be) thing, and address the issues as they actually become issues.

Some of it is a when in Rome, do as the Romans do...I am unable to live in a 600 s.f. Apartment, on a rice mat, where I live. And due to my upbringing and local society, I DON'T WANT TO.

Monstro: I suggest getting a new Realator...this one is obviously more concerned with her percentage in a down market. I suggest cutting your parents some slack. If they had to life in your house, under your rules, they would be VERY unhappy. The way aging works, they may have to, will you be "now you get to live in MY HOUSE, With MY rules! (evil laugh)" or will you show a little sympathy at someone who IS losing everything that made them happy, because man, that's a nasty shit sammich we all get to eat. Aging is a bitch.

There's a difference between living on credit, and funding a life you care to live. I am also exceedingly happy, more and more, that my life is NOT dictated by the people who are the most vocal, they haven't demonstrated to have my best interests at heart and SURE WOULD increase my unhappiness, if they we're suddenly given the magic wand of rulership.
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  #66  
Old 03-29-2011, 09:27 AM
monstro monstro is online now
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Originally Posted by Unintentionally Blank View Post
There's a difference between living on credit, and funding a life you care to live. I am also exceedingly happy, more and more, that my life is NOT dictated by the people who are the most vocal, they haven't demonstrated to have my best interests at heart and SURE WOULD increase my unhappiness, if they we're suddenly given the magic wand of rulership.
They don't have to live with me. They have three other offspring with more space who they can live with.

But if it came down to me, then yes, they're going to be living under my rules. You know how people, especially old folks, like to talk about taking personal responsibility? Well, if you don't take personal responsibility and make sure you're living well within your means with a good buffer, then you can't complain when you're forced to live in a small house without all those good ole ammenties you're used to. I'm going to do what's best for my parents, no doubt. But that means following my own principals and philosophy of life, not theirs. If they have to have a giant flat-screened TV to be happy, then my parents are screwed up in the head. I don't see why I have to enable that madness just to be a "good" daughter.

If one uses resources wisely, that person doesn't have to worry about someone else dictating their life. That's what being an independent and responsible adult is all about.
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  #67  
Old 03-29-2011, 09:41 AM
Unintentionally Blank Unintentionally Blank is offline
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But you're so invested in your personal philosophy that you can't see anyone else's.

You're locking on their Televisions...they HAVE to HAVE a LARGE TEE VEE to be HAAAAAPY.

Perhaps they bought a large television because it's easier to see, and compared to their income, the bigger television's cost was a non-issue, and their vision isn't getting any better.

Really, your complaints don't sound like they're about your parents living responsibly, it sounds like there are other unresolved issues and this is how they're presenting themselves. You are unhappy at the decisions they've made, but really, they're not YOUR decisions to make.

Did they honestly say "I will be an unfulfilled person if I don't have a BIG television"? You mention that you hardly ever watch television any more...that's fine, but what you're not accepting is that what is important to you is not necessarily the same thing as what is important to them. you might as well go off on their tendency to vote Republican, or eat meat, or attend church, or watch sports...or HUNDREDS of other life choices you might not agree with.

More than anything else, I see a lack of empathy for them. (Granted, they may be Hitler incarnate, I don't have enough info to judge)
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  #68  
Old 03-29-2011, 09:54 AM
Maastricht Maastricht is offline
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monstro, I'm totally with you on this subject. Everybody can and should do as they like, but a small house offers cosiness and... I don't know how to say it, that everything is overseeable? I love the outlay of your home.

I said our home is 1300 square feet, but half of that is the (furnised) basement. The lower floor has windows on one side, though. I'm always surprised that people don't think of lofts and basements as part of their houses.

I have calculated how much mortgage I would have to pay if i had a bigger house with a guest room. It is infinitely more economical to just pay for a hotel room or a B&B whenever you have guests over. Or to pay for space in a bar/church those few times in your life that one may want to host a big gathering.

Stuff is enslaving us, and it is important that your house doesn't facilitate the gathering of unused stuff.

One more thing, If you are building your home: buy and read this book and talk it over with your contractor. It will make your dream house even better, in lessenign housework and maintenance.

Last edited by Czarcasm; 03-29-2011 at 10:05 AM.. Reason: fixed links
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  #69  
Old 03-29-2011, 10:01 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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Originally Posted by Maastricht View Post
a small house offers cosiness and... I don't know how to say it, that everything is overseeable?
I think the word you were looking for may have been "survey". With a small house it's easy to just look around and verify that everything's fine - or locate the things that need fixing. The bigger the house, the longer that takes.
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  #70  
Old 03-29-2011, 10:54 AM
monstro monstro is online now
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Originally Posted by Unintentionally Blank View Post
But you're so invested in your personal philosophy that you can't see anyone else's.
I've had the mainstream philosophy blasted at me for 33 years. I'm sick of it and would like to get away from it, yes. Why is that so wrong?

Quote:
You're locking on their Televisions...they HAVE to HAVE a LARGE TEE VEE to be HAAAAAPY.
Did you read what I wrote? I said "if". "If" they can't be happy without a big-screened TV, then I see that as a problem. They went years without a big-screened TV (and no, they have no vision problems). If they want a TV and they have to live with me for the long-term, I'll break down and buy a TV for them. A 15" inch. And if they want cable, let them pony up for the bill. Why is that so wrong? If the tables were turned and I was bumming off of them, they'd demand I do the same. Being their daughter does not mean following their every wish and command. I don't care how old they are.

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Perhaps they bought a large television because it's easier to see, and compared to their income, the bigger television's cost was a non-issue, and their vision isn't getting any better.
No, their vision is fine. And you know what? There are plenty of near-sighted people who do fine without a giant TV screen! You know why? Because they can't afford one. If my parents are living with me and demand that I get a big-screen TV, I'm telling them that they can buy it with their own money. I'll buy them something reasonable, that won't suck up all the fossil fuels in Virginia. Again, why does that make me such a bad person?

Quote:
Really, your complaints don't sound like they're about your parents living responsibly, it sounds like there are other unresolved issues and this is how they're presenting themselves. You are unhappy at the decisions they've made, but really, they're not YOUR decisions to make.
I don't like their overconsumption, but if we were talking about 40 or 50 year olds in perfect health, then we wouldn't be having this discussion. Instead, we're talking about people heading towards their mid and upper 60s, and every month there's a new physical health issue. They don't whine about them; they just casually bring it up. Just like they'll casually bring up the $5K they had to plop down to fix the heating system, or the $2K they had to plop down to fix the swimming pool pump. No, they haven't asked me to lift a finger and for this I'm grateful. But I'm just waiting for that phone call, that frantic one in the middle of the night from my mother, telling me that Daddy has died. My mother has no retirement income. She cannot afford that house, nor all the possessions she racked up on her husband's credit card. So that phone call will not just be a "casual" one. It will be a "Come HELP NOW!!"

I'm simply saying that this is avoidable. That this mess is not inevitable, but I see no effort on their part to stop it.

You're reading way more into my posts than is warranted.

Quote:
Did they honestly say "I will be an unfulfilled person if I don't have a BIG television"? You mention that you hardly ever watch television any more...that's fine, but what you're not accepting is that what is important to you is not necessarily the same thing as what is important to them. you might as well go off on their tendency to vote Republican, or eat meat, or attend church, or watch sports...or HUNDREDS of other life choices you might not agree with.
I'm agnostic; I have no problem with their Christianity. But if they come to live with me, I will not be going to church with them. I will take them to church, but I will not attend services with them. Does that make me a mean person?

I do not go out to eat every night. They do. If they come live with me and suggest we go out every night, I will decline. They are free to go and do what they want, and again, I'll be the good daughter and take them where they want to go. But I will not be spending $15 every night for dinner, even if I can afford it. Does that not make me a mean person?

They are free to do whatever they want as long as they don't expect me to shoulder any of the costs. I'll take on the costs that I feel are absolutely necessary, but that's it. They've had their Disney Land. Their dream house and lap of luxury. If they live with me, I won't be indulging them. I will love them with all of my heart, however you might think it's cold and cruel. But I will not go bankrupt just to please them.

Quote:
More than anything else, I see a lack of empathy for them. (Granted, they may be Hitler incarnate, I don't have enough info to judge)
What empathy do they deserve? Really? You're acting like they are just poor suffering souls who's lifestyles have no consequences on others. They aren't poor, they aren't suffering, and their lifestyles really do have real-life consequences. Simply acknowledging this does not make me non-empathetic. It makes me no-nosense.

Last edited by monstro; 03-29-2011 at 10:57 AM..
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  #71  
Old 03-29-2011, 11:14 AM
lindsaybluth lindsaybluth is offline
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Originally Posted by monstro View Post
I'm not a dude. I'm a lady too.
I was using "dude" generally; I actually didn't know if you were a woman or a man.

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Originally Posted by monstro View Post
It's not my business what people do with their belongings or their money. But ya know, when people start ranting about the price of oil or how high the cost the food is or how the big corporations are ruining the environment, I want to ask them just how many TVs they have and if they ever leave them on for the benefit of ghosts.
I can honestly say that in every single 5k+ square foot home I've been in that I've never ever seen what you've described going on - the TV thing, that is. Again, I think it's your own personal family stuff that's clouding the issue.

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Originally Posted by Spectre of Pithecanthropus View Post
This reminds me of a question I have: When they give the square footage in a house listing, does that normally include the basement?
I can't speak for Chefguy, but it doesn't seem completely standardized 'round here. For the most part if the basement is "finished" - walls aren't exposed concrete or insulation or rock or whatever, flooring is something other than just poured concrete, and measures have been taken to be sure it won't flood and is "dry", lighting is established - it is included as part of the square footage. People run into trouble when they do include it as square footage and it's not "finished".
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Old 03-29-2011, 11:16 AM
Sateryn76 Sateryn76 is offline
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Originally Posted by monstro View Post
I've had the mainstream philosophy blasted at me for 33 years. I'm sick of it and would like to get away from it, yes. Why is that so wrong?



Did you read what I wrote? I said "if". "If" they can't be happy without a big-screened TV, then I see that as a problem. They went years without a big-screened TV (and no, they have no vision problems). If they want a TV and they have to live with me for the long-term, I'll break down and buy a TV for them. A 15" inch. And if they want cable, let them pony up for the bill. Why is that so wrong? If the tables were turned and I was bumming off of them, they'd demand I do the same. Being their daughter does not mean following their every wish and command. I don't care how old they are.



No, their vision is fine. And you know what? There are plenty of near-sighted people who do fine without a giant TV screen! You know why? Because they can't afford one. If my parents are living with me and demand that I get a big-screen TV, I'm telling them that they can buy it with their own money. I'll buy them something reasonable, that won't suck up all the fossil fuels in Virginia. Again, why does that make me such a bad person?



I don't like their overconsumption, but if we were talking about 40 or 50 year olds in perfect health, then we wouldn't be having this discussion. Instead, we're talking about people heading towards their mid and upper 60s, and every month there's a new physical health issue. They don't whine about them; they just casually bring it up. Just like they'll casually bring up the $5K they had to plop down to fix the heating system, or the $2K they had to plop down to fix the swimming pool pump. No, they haven't asked me to lift a finger and for this I'm grateful. But I'm just waiting for that phone call, that frantic one in the middle of the night from my mother, telling me that Daddy has died. My mother has no retirement income. She cannot afford that house, nor all the possessions she racked up on her husband's credit card. So that phone call will not just be a "casual" one. It will be a "Come HELP NOW!!"

I'm simply saying that this is avoidable. That this mess is not inevitable, but I see no effort on their part to stop it.

You're reading way more into my posts than is warranted.



I'm agnostic; I have no problem with their Christianity. But if they come to live with me, I will not be going to church with them. I will take them to church, but I will not attend services with them. Does that make me a mean person?

I do not go out to eat every night. They do. If they come live with me and suggest we go out every night, I will decline. They are free to go and do what they want, and again, I'll be the good daughter and take them where they want to go. But I will not be spending $15 every night for dinner, even if I can afford it. Does that not make me a mean person?

They are free to do whatever they want as long as they don't expect me to shoulder any of the costs. I'll take on the costs that I feel are absolutely necessary, but that's it. They've had their Disney Land. Their dream house and lap of luxury. If they live with me, I won't be indulging them. I will love them with all of my heart, however you might think it's cold and cruel. But I will not go bankrupt just to please them.



What empathy do they deserve? Really? You're acting like they are just poor suffering souls who's lifestyles have no consequences on others. They aren't poor, they aren't suffering, and their lifestyles really do have real-life consequences. Simply acknowledging this does not make me non-empathetic. It makes me no-nosense.
I see all of your points, and I agree - you should not have to subsidize their lifestyle. If they move in with you, and can't afford the goodies, I see no reason why you should pony up for them.

I just don't see why you're so angry about it. That makes it seems like there are other, unacknowledged issues there.
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  #73  
Old 03-29-2011, 11:51 AM
Rhythmdvl Rhythmdvl is offline
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Monstro: are you angry about it? Or is the Internet's inherent lack of nuance and expressionism leading people to see and read anger into what is just exasperated venting (similar, but two different things)?
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  #74  
Old 03-29-2011, 12:13 PM
monstro monstro is online now
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I'm frustrated. I don't understand this sudden "Don't be judgmental!" attitude, especially when I'm talking about family members that may one day rely on me for assistance. I don't like judgmental or self-righteous people either, but I do know right from wrong. I do know excessive from non-excessive, and ridiculous from non-ridiculous. Seems like people think I'm some of heartless monster because I don't want my parents' self-imposed problems spilling on me. I don't get it.

I'm not really angry at my parents, but I do wish they would be more self-aware. And I think I will be angry when I get the "COME HELP NOW" call and I'm expected to help Mommy (or Daddy) do something with a ginormous house and all those things. But I think this is a natural feeling...the feeling that I'm being called to do a massive undertaking that will make stress levels--mine and others--worse. Of course it's what adult children are expected to do, eventually. But I shouldn't be villified for expressing a natural emotion.
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  #75  
Old 03-29-2011, 12:23 PM
Sateryn76 Sateryn76 is offline
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Originally Posted by monstro View Post
I'm frustrated. I don't understand this sudden "Don't be judgmental!" attitude, especially when I'm talking about family members that may one day rely on me for assistance. I don't like judgmental or self-righteous people either, but I do know right from wrong. I do know excessive from non-excessive, and ridiculous from non-ridiculous. Seems like people think I'm some of heartless monster because I don't want my parents' self-imposed problems spilling on me. I don't get it.

I'm not really angry at my parents, but I do wish they would be more self-aware. And I think I will be angry when I get the "COME HELP NOW" call and I'm expected to help Mommy (or Daddy) do something with a ginormous house and all those things. But I think this is a natural feeling...the feeling that I'm being called to do a massive undertaking that will make stress levels--mine and others--worse. Of course it's what adult children are expected to do, eventually. But I shouldn't be villified for expressing a natural emotion.
I get it. I would like to point out that "excessive", "non-excessive, "ridiculous" and "non-ridiculous" are not exact things, and therefore you're being just as judgmental as anyone else.
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  #76  
Old 03-29-2011, 01:46 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is online now
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Originally Posted by Sateryn76 View Post
I get it. I would like to point out that "excessive", "non-excessive, "ridiculous" and "non-ridiculous" are not exact things, and therefore you're being just as judgmental as anyone else.
That's true to a point, but I'd say the word "ridiculous" is more judgemental than the word "excessive" - monstro has described some things her parents are doing that are definitely excessive - it's objective, not subjective.

On the subject of stuff - the video "The Story of Stuff" and the book "The Story of Stuff.
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  #77  
Old 03-29-2011, 01:52 PM
Bridget Burke Bridget Burke is offline
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Maybe I should immigate to Europe.
Probably you should. It will remove you from the future problems that you're obsessing about.

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  #78  
Old 03-29-2011, 03:41 PM
Unintentionally Blank Unintentionally Blank is offline
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Whelp, I think the issue is more one of philosophy than anything else. For better or worse, your parents have a different view on 'commercialism' than you do...the good news is: it will only impact you when they lean on you for support...if at all, it may fall to your other three siblings when the time comes.

The problem, as I see it, is that in this country, they're just as free to live their lifestyle as you are yours. It doesn't make sense for them to curtail their life sooner then they have to. If the issue is that they're spending your inheritance...well, that's their prerogative, it's their money. In this day and age, it's more likely that they'll end up liquidating their assets, and it'll all be sucked up in assisted living before you even get a crack at it. That's kinda sad, but it's becoming more and more of a reality all the time.

Wasting your time being angry about it, when it may or may not happen, is wasted calories. They're not going to see the light and change their ways unless something drastic happens. In my mother's case, her husband died suddenly and young. Her father died 18 months later, and she had to deal with all of the details of both deaths. Based on that experience, she produced a tight little packet of documentation so that when she shuffles off, a lot of the detailwork is done for me. I won't really appreciate that until once of my less prepared relatives passes away, but I'm sure I'm going to be grateful.

I do not, however, expect to get much of an inheritance. Such is the way of my family.
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  #79  
Old 03-29-2011, 08:02 PM
monstro monstro is online now
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Originally Posted by Unintentionally Blank View Post
Whelp, I think the issue is more one of philosophy than anything else. For better or worse, your parents have a different view on 'commercialism' than you do...the good news is: it will only impact you when they lean on you for support...if at all, it may fall to your other three siblings when the time comes.
Or they can lean on me financially, but not physically. I don't plan on upgrading my lifestyle to match theirs, but that doesn't mean I won't help a sibling who decides to take them in, or that I won't help pay rent on a retirement home or small apartment. I feel like I keep saying this, but here it goes again: I love my parents. I would never abandon them, even if their problems were self-induced. But that does not mean I have to be happy about helping them. I will certainly put on my sunshine happy smily-face in front of them (Don't worry, Mommy. I'll help pay down this credit card. You just sit there and watch your HGTV program for the eleventy-billionth time). It's how I was raised...to be "nice". But I'm not going to pretend it won't hurt or tell myself that my parents did a good job with their retirement.

Quote:
The problem, as I see it, is that in this country, they're just as free to live their lifestyle as you are yours. It doesn't make sense for them to curtail their life sooner then they have to.
If we continue with this mentality...that we're all entitled to do whatever we want to do, no matter how much sense it makes (sorry, but a 3500 sq ft house for two senior citizens makes no sense to me)--then we will not have anything left to enjoy. There has to be a limit. And of course it makes sense for people to curtail their lives. It's called being responsible. Just because a person hits retirement age does not free them from being responsible. If anything, it should make them MORE responsible.

(Perhaps there is some bitterness in me. My parents didn't save any money for their kids' college tuitions. We grew up on the bad side of town, having to take a bus crosstown to go to "good schools". Home burgularies were common place. We never got an allowance or traveled beyond Gary, Indiana and Myrtle Beach, SC. If I wanted a new pair of shoes as a teenager, I practically had to draw up a prospectus...only to then make do with an ugly generic. So I guess I look at how my parents upgraded their lives the very first moment all their kids went off on their own, and I can't help but think "Well, I guess they really didn't want to spoil us, huh?" I'm sure they did sacrifice for us and now they feel they're getting what they "deserve". But I wonder if they're thinking how their constant self-rewarding will eventually affect us. I hope they're thinking about us. Sometimes I don't know.)

Quote:
If the issue is that they're spending your inheritance...well, that's their prerogative, it's their money. In this day and age, it's more likely that they'll end up liquidating their assets, and it'll all be sucked up in assisted living before you even get a crack at it. That's kinda sad, but it's becoming more and more of a reality all the time.
I hope that it will go towards assisted living, and not to all the debt they've accrued. My parents own two houses. They just spent a fortune (through refinancing) to renovate the other house (the one the whole family grew up in back in the day). But after four months they cannot find a tenant who's willing to subsidize the bright yellow Home and Garden extravaganza. So they have two mortgages that they're paying, plus credit card debt, a motorcycle note, two car notes, and they just bought a time share. A time share. All I can hope for is that vacationing away from Shorter, AL and Buloxi, MS will help them break their addiction to casinos.

I don't begrudge anyone, most of all my family, the comforts of life. No one in my family has ever slacked off or been leeches, and my parents rose up out of poverty to live a lifestyle their parents could never even dream of. And I'm glad that they are comfortable and not suffering in some hole in the wall. But when is it appropriate to say "Stop the presses. Enough is ENOUGH!" As a person whose life may potentially be affected by all this spendthriftiness, don't I have the right to clear my throat and ask about my parents' plans for the future? Or is that too disrespectful and judgmental? I just wanna know.

Quote:
Wasting your time being angry about it, when it may or may not happen, is wasted calories.
It's strange. Everyone's always accusing me of being angry on the Dope, but I rarely feel this way. Maybe I need to put in more smilies and hearts whenever I post on this board.

Last edited by monstro; 03-29-2011 at 08:05 PM..
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  #80  
Old 03-29-2011, 09:01 PM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is online now
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We have PLENTY of house - but we are a family of four. We have honestly, more house than we need or use.

I also own a small house that my brother in law lives in - its about 600 sq ft. Its just him and a dog and its a lot of space (although the kitchen is sub par - he could use more kitchen). It also has a full basement for his crap and a garage.

I think the American thing with big houses is really an extension of the American thing with our crap. I have stuff coming out of my ears, and need somewhere to stick it. And yet I long for the days when I could move in a small uhaul. (but then I had no children, and far less crap).
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Old 03-29-2011, 10:46 PM
Soft Touch Soft Touch is offline
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I'd just like to say that I think you're awesome, monstro. You don't sound angry to me; you sound sensible and right.
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  #82  
Old 03-30-2011, 02:19 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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And if you have to pussyfoot around a bunch of imaginary friends off the internet, where do you get to put your foot down?

Last edited by Nava; 03-30-2011 at 02:20 AM..
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  #83  
Old 03-30-2011, 02:36 AM
ImNotPaulAvery ImNotPaulAvery is offline
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I think I've got you all beat. My GF and I currently share a 450 sq ft apartment. It is tiny, but we've made it work with reasonable harmony. I have few possessions though, and don't like having a bunch of crap so living minimally works for me.

We are counting down the days until our lease is up, though. I've lived in many different places and situations and I'd say the minimum space needed is 300 sq. ft. per person.
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Old 03-30-2011, 04:18 AM
toofs toofs is offline
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Monstro, you've gone on about your parent's televsion quite a bit in this thread. Big televisions are cheap these days. Some people read, some watch tv. So what. It seems the big-screen TV is a symbol of your contempt of your parent's lifestyle.

You seem very passionate about it. Let it go.
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  #85  
Old 03-30-2011, 04:46 AM
Quartz Quartz is offline
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My house is a 3 bedroom house on two floors. The outside measurements are about 20' x 25'
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  #86  
Old 03-30-2011, 05:14 AM
Unintentionally Blank Unintentionally Blank is offline
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monstro you've done a good job in making the situation look much less cut and dried. I don't fault you for your position, and I could continue in the "people make mistakes all the time, even financial ones", but it wouldn't amount to much, and there wouldn't be a satisfying conclusion to the debate.

People have to be responsible for their own care and it doesn't sound like your parents are making the decisions that would make your ultimate care of them any easier. I can think back to many times where there was a subtle "this isn't financially" right feeling that had me and the wife do things differently (like getting rid of those ARMs a good two years before the bubble burst.)

But a last statement in their defense: raising three kids on less that ample pay, for a very very long time...I can see where they might feel they're entitled to a little splurging afterwards. Yeah, you may not be happy with the education they didn't provide you...but they DID manage to instill you with some fiscal responceability, FWIW.
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Old 03-30-2011, 05:19 AM
SecondJudith SecondJudith is offline
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What I've taken from this thread is that houses in the US are fucking huge.
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Old 03-30-2011, 06:15 AM
monstro monstro is online now
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Originally Posted by Unintentionally Blank View Post
monstro you've done a good job in making the situation look much less cut and dried. I don't fault you for your position, and I could continue in the "people make mistakes all the time, even financial ones", but it wouldn't amount to much, and there wouldn't be a satisfying conclusion to the debate. [/qute]

What do you do when you see people making the mistakes over and over? Just look the other way? That's what I usually do, and that's what I have been doing with my parents.

It's almost like a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't thing. I'm damned if I tell my parents that they're spending too much money. How dare I judge them for spending their retirement! Don't they deserve 20+ years of "freedom"? It's not MY money they're spending, so why am I butting in? Etc., etc. But if I don't say anything and pretend everything's peachy, and then the tsunami wave catches up to then, I'll be the evil daughter for being mad about their predicament. Regardless, the problem will be dropped in their children's laps. It would be even if they lived in a small house with few possessions, but at least that scenario wouldn't require having to get rid of two houses (did I mention one of them is in a downward-spiraling subdivision and the other is still in the "bad" part of the town?). It just seems to me that their financial decisions are not conducive for a comfortable retirement in the long haul.

[quote\But a last statement in their defense: raising three kids on less that ample pay, for a very very long time...I can see where they might feel they're entitled to a little splurging afterwards. Yeah, you may not be happy with the education they didn't provide you...but they DID manage to instill you with some fiscal responceability, FWIW.
They raised four of us. And they probably do feel entitled, and I suppose--if I am angry about anything--it's this: Why didn't they feel entitled to raise their children in a nicer neighborhood, one that they could still afford? (I have no real beef with the neighborhood we grew up in, btw. But it was not child-friendly and actually cost the family more in the long run, with my father's long commutes and frequent break-ins). Why didn't they feel that their children were entitled to college educations? Why did my mother spend 12 hours a day working for less than minimum wage to save other people's children from poverty, while her own school-aged children would come home to an empty house and have to sneak to the candy store because we weren't allowed to eat anything in the house? Why did their sense of entitlement not kick in until AFTER they didn't have children to raise? That's what sticks in my craw. I know my father's salary in the early years was very different than what he earned towards the end of his career, but there was a good chunk of time, like when my twin and I were coming up, when he was making a very decent living, working in the richest county in the state where he could have plopped his family and allowed his kids to attend neighborhood schools like most children do. So yeah, they deserve something. I just don't know if they "deserve" a ginormous house that can't even properly heat and cool because it's so big.

I don't think my parents' taught me fiscal responsibility, unfortunately. They were blessed that their youngest children were very low maintenance and never asked for much, except a car (that they shared) when they turned 16 so they could drive to school. I got a job at 15 because I wanted to go to Europe on a school trip, and my parents didn't want to pay for it. Perhaps that was a lesson--getting my own job. But it wasn't like I had a choice. Without an allowance to save or a desire to babysit, it was either work or not do extracurricular things at school. I am grateful for the violin lessons my mother obtained for my sister and me. Of course, she likes to constantly throw this up in our faces as if violin lessons were something we asked for, but nonetheless it was still an act of selflessness. A taste of luxury that the other kids in the family didn't get to receive. I am grateful for a million other things too. But I don't think my parents taught me how to scrimp and save. There was an embarrassing time when my mother had to don a Domino's pizza uniform (back when they were made out of paper) because she had gone crazy on credit cards. Yeah, every time I make a purchase, that memory haunts me.

They were role models on how NOT to be, when it comes to money. And I can't completely fault them. For all their education, they did not have role models themselves, having grown up in poverty.
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Old 03-30-2011, 06:26 AM
Unintentionally Blank Unintentionally Blank is offline
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They were role models on how NOT to be, when it comes to money. And I can't completely fault them. For all their education, they did not have role models themselves, having grown up in poverty.
That was my point...but I was being too subtle. To teach by example, you don't necessarily have to set a GOOD example.
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Old 03-30-2011, 06:41 AM
SaxFace SaxFace is offline
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I think I've got you all beat. My GF and I currently share a 450 sq ft apartment.
Sorry! My six-year-old daughter and I live in a 323 square foot apartment. Luckily, we spend a lot of time outside and we don't have a lot of stuff. We manage just fine. To be honest, I think I would hate to live in a big house - I can see myself becoming a slave to its upkeep and expense. I'd rather spend my time doing other things and worrying about other stuff.
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  #91  
Old 03-30-2011, 10:21 AM
Eonwe Eonwe is offline
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As a poor person, I often have to be careful about how easy it is to judge people's "excessive" consumption; my reaction to consumption is often, upon reflection, predicated on the fact that people are making choices that I don't even have the option to make. "I can't believe they wasted so much money on that, when it's clear that they don't need it, just look at me!"

I think that often this sort of thing becomes nothing more than mandating aesthetic choice (or financial necessity) by imbuing it with moral/ethical qualities.

I'm a single guy with a girlfriend. We don't need much space; a kitchen big enough to do some cooking and baking in, and a separate room for musical instruments/office. And some dry storage space for some boxes, brewing equipment, bikes in the winter, etc.

I don't know what our sq. footage is currently; it's a 4 bedroom apartment (and there are 4 of us here), somewhere around 800sq ft., which includes 4 bedrooms, living room, kitchen, bathroom, and a hallway/laundry room. There's also a basement. The layout is kind of crummy, but certainly size-wise it'd be quite comfortable for 2 people.
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Old 03-30-2011, 11:41 AM
Rachellelogram Rachellelogram is online now
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I could comfortably live in a 450 square foot studio. I don't plan on meeting someone and getting married, or on having children. A combination living room/bedroom would be great since I spend all of my time in my bedroom right now anyway (since I'm renting a room in someone else's home). I don't have a need for a large, complicated kitchen. Just a stove, sink, fridge, and a few cabinets. The bathroom can be small since I'm the only person using it and I don't do that whole makeup or blowdrying thing.

I like the idea of smaller lots with smaller homes, and I've always preferred small quirky spaces to large, prefab ones. 600 square feet would be more than I need.
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  #93  
Old 03-30-2011, 01:59 PM
msmith537 msmith537 is offline
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Growing up, our family of 4 lived in a 1400 sq ft 4BR 2.5 BA house (no basement though) on 1.2 acres. That seems like a pretty standard house in the suburban Northeast, until you start getting closer to cities.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Sateryn76 View Post
I just don't see why you're so angry about it. That makes it seems like there are other, unacknowledged issues there.
Because she's "poor". When you don't have money, everyone else's spending habits becomes a critical statement of their morality. People are "jerks" for having a 3 thousand dollar watch or eating $200 steak dinners every weekend.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectre of Pithecanthropus
This reminds me of a question I have: When they give the square footage in a house listing, does that normally include the basement?
No, I don't think so unless it's a finished room.
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Old 03-30-2011, 03:22 PM
monstro monstro is online now
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Originally Posted by msmith537
Because she's "poor". When you don't have money, everyone else's spending habits becomes a critical statement of their morality. People are "jerks" for having a 3 thousand dollar watch or eating $200 steak dinners every weekend.
Can I ax you a querstion? On what basis are you calling me poor? Quotation marks or no, I have never referred to myself in this way since I was in grad school. When I actually was pretty damn close to poor. So I'm curious where you are coming from with this accusation. Is it because you can't really see any other reason why I'd be against having a big house and a bunch of stuff? You're a business-type guy, right? I thought ya'll are inherently supposed to be able to see "out of the box".

Not that it matters, but I am not poor. I don't make six figures and I don't drive a new car. But I'm squarely middle-class, as most environmental scientists are.

FWIW, I judge people as "jerks" based on what they do, not on what they have. For instance, a jerk would be a guy who accuses someone of having an inferiority complex simply because it's the only narrative his pea brain can come up with. But a person who has a 3 thousand dollar watch is not necessarily a jerk. He or she is just someone who has a 3 thousand dollar watch.

Also, where in this thread have you found me slamming rich people? True, I have slammed a couple of people. But these are people who I personally know to be living beyond their means, and they are not rich. I thought that was okay, bitching about irresponsible people. Especially irresponsible people who you are related to you. That's bad now? Well then, I guess it's time to recalibrate my morality meter. Or not.






I prefer not.
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Old 03-30-2011, 03:57 PM
Swallowed My Cellphone Swallowed My Cellphone is offline
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I have a vacuum outlet theory to "comfortable" home size - 1 "plug-in" per person living in the house. 1 person = you can vacuum the whole house without unplugging the power cord / 2 people = you move the cord once (2 "plug-ins)... If it takes more, then the house is too big; if it takes less, then it's probably a bit cramped and cluttered.
I love this, it's brilliant!
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  #96  
Old 03-30-2011, 04:05 PM
CrazyCatLady CrazyCatLady is online now
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One thing you have to keep in mind when talking to a realtor or builder is that "impossible to sell" is really shorthand for "has such limited appeal that it's going to take a really long time to find a buyer." Which sounds like a perfectly reasonable description of what monstro is proposing to build. It sounds lovely for a certain kind of buyer, but that kind of buyer is pretty darn thin on the ground, which means when the place does go on the market it's likely going to sit there for months and months with her paying for it and her new place/nursing home/whatever. It took us over a year to sell our old house when we moved, and that shit bites some seriously huge donkey testicles. Granted, expenses on such a little place will be much lower, but it's still something worth mulling over before finalizing plans.

What someone actually needs in terms of space is very little. People can and do live in half a 12x16 room sharing a bathroom with 30 other people. It's not what you'd call overly pleasant, though.
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Old 03-30-2011, 04:10 PM
IvoryTowerDenizen IvoryTowerDenizen is online now
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No, I don't think so unless it's a finished room.
In my experiences, even a finished room, if it's below grade, doesn't count in the square footage. So a walkout basement, if finished might while a fully below grade basement wouldn't. Obviously, local regulations may vary.
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Old 03-30-2011, 05:52 PM
Voyager Voyager is online now
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What I've taken from this thread is that houses in the US are fucking huge.
My daughter's ex-boyfriend from the south of England (small house) was convinced she lived in a mansion. We don't.
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Old 03-30-2011, 05:56 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is online now
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Originally Posted by IvoryTowerDenizen View Post
In my experiences, even a finished room, if it's below grade, doesn't count in the square footage. So a walkout basement, if finished might while a fully below grade basement wouldn't. Obviously, local regulations may vary.
That's how it is in Alberta, too. Since virtually all houses have basements here, you usually get double your square footage than what is shown in the listings.

ETA: That is for bungalows. Two storeys, you still get extra footage, just not double.

Last edited by Cat Whisperer; 03-30-2011 at 05:56 PM..
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Old 03-30-2011, 06:35 PM
monstro monstro is online now
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I was told the calculation of square footage varies from place to place, and even from assessor to assessor! But according to the "rule" where I live, any livable space would count. I think that would rule out an unfinished basement.

As far as selling the place goes, I know it will be difficult. I wasn't born yesterday, and I've actually done a lot of footwork (literally) finding a location where I can maximize its market appeal. But I'm not building to flip it, nor do I envision moving or expanding anytime soon. My life story is not writ in stone, I know, but I tend not to plan for the "couldawouldas", but rather for the "more-than-likelies." More than likely, I will live in this house for longer than 15 years, or after it's paid for. And if things change and I can't find an immediate buyer, I am not afraid of finding a reputable property manager and renting the thing. Maybe no one will buy it, but I know someone will rent it.

In my will, I will donate the house to a local non-profit that would welcome having such a property. What a great way to attract passionate crunchy-granola interns. Low-cost, eco-friendly housing! There's also a parachioal school just up the block. Maybe the house could be used as a way of attracting a fresh energetic teacher who's just starting out, who would appreciate not having to balance student debt and high rent, plus all the psychological demands a teacher has to deal with. I've also considered the assisted living place across the street. Where do family members stay when they visit their loved ones, I wonder? Nearby hotels can be expensive. I wonder if I could donate the house to the assisted living facility and they can turn it into a hospitality house for family members who live far away and want to visit their loved ones for a couple of days. The place could charge a flat fee per visit to cover utilities, taxes, insurance, and maintenance. But it would still be a cheaper price than what hotels charge (and make for a nicer stay too!) It could be marketed as a perk for doing business there. Spend a few hours with your loved one, and then have fun in Richmond the rest of the time. A hospitality house could assuage some of the guilt associated with putting a parent in a home, I would think.

I'm not worried about what will happen to my house. I'm very creative.
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